An incredible collection of tiny hats is being conserved at Leeds museum

So cute.

A selection of vintage miniature hats are currently being documented by experts and volunteers at the Leeds Discovery Centre.

And trust us, these hats are really really cute.

From top hats and riding hats to gold trimmed hats and feather trimmed Tudor hats, there’s a plethora of historic tiny hats currently undergoing conservation at the Leeds Discovery Centre.

The remarkable range, some of which fit in the palm of a hand, were made by Leeds hatter John Craig in the early 1900s who established his business in the popular shopping district of Park Row.

A selection of tiny hats.
Image: Leeds City Council

The shop remained there until 1936 before moving to Wellington Street, where it traded until around 1947.

But the hats weren’t made for mice to wear, they were originally crafted to show to clients and demonstrate the maker’s skill and impressive range of products they could create.

A leaflet from 1927 said John Craig “commenced his business with the ambition of supplying good hats, and as the variety of shapes increased specialising in selecting for his customers the hats of most suitable shape giving especial care to the comfort of the wearer.”

Image: Leeds City Council

Natalie Raw, Leeds Museums and Galleries curator of costume, has been working with a group of students from The University of York to document the extent of the John Craig’s collection and other objects stored at the Leeds Discovery Centre.

She said: “The quite remarkable variety of shapes, sizes and colours of hats in our collection shows the many different ways they have been worn over the decades, including practically as a status symbol, and sometimes as a flamboyant fashion statement.

Image: Leeds City Council

“These wonderful miniature hats in particular demonstrate the skill and artistry possessed by one traditional Leeds hatmaker and the pride he clearly took in his work. It’s fascinating to think of each of them carefully and meticulously made in the workshop and then proudly shown to potential customers.

“We’re fortunate to have such an extensive collection to go through and it’s been so rewarding to find out more about the history behind these beautiful, stylish creations.”

To find out more, take a look at the Leeds Discovery Centre’s website.

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Featured image – Leeds City Council

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